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Isaac: A Modern Fable by Ivan G. Goldman

Isaac: A Modern Fable

by Ivan G. Goldman

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Well, this was disappointing. The story started out interesting, but the writing itself didn't really hold up. After a while, Lenny just seemed seemed wishy washy and I didn't really care what happened to him (which made it difficult to finish. In fact, I didn't for quite a while. I just refound it in my libray and remembered that it still hadn't gotten all the way through it. and gave it another go. Meh.
  ShanLizLuv | Oct 30, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In the Bible, there is the story of Abraham, the great patriarch of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In his most memorable story, he is asked by God to sacrifice is son Isaac; just as he is about to deliver the killing blow, an angel appears and stays his hand. In the process, it seems, the angel inadvertently granted Isaac eternal youth, and he’s been wandering the earth ever since. As centuries have passed, Isaac has gotten used to the solitude of immortality, but his thousands of years can’t prepare him for the passion that overtakes him when he falls in love with beautiful Ruth. Ruth is a talented scholar who once wrote a brilliant paper about Mary Shelley and Frankenstein. Isaac, now using the pseudonym Lenny, knows he can’t have a serious relationship with Ruth – serious relationships end in disaster, usually when the woman discovers the nature of his secret – but he can’t ignore her, either, since she has fallen into the clutches of the Beast, Isaac’s nemesis who has been wandering through time with same durability as Isaac. In the form of a wealthy eccentric called Borges, the Beast whisks Ruth away to an academic think tank where she can dedicate her life to research. Isaac is determined to save her, but first he’ll have to overcome his own fears and frailties.

I spent most of this book being either bored or annoyed. It starts out decently enough. Ruth meets Lenny as she escapes a truly terrible first date, and the two hit it off immediately. But the story quickly gets bogged down in Lenny’s waffling. He wants to be with Ruth but he can’t. He wants to run from the Beast, but he also wants to stand up to him. For an immortal that lived through so much history, Lenny isn’t all that interesting. His reflections on the past are brief glimpses, a peek into fogged memories that do little to impress the weight of so many years upon his character. As he admits to himself at one point, he’s been alive all this time and never done anything important, and in all likelihood that isn’t going to change.

If Isaac/Lenny is adrift in time, Ruth too is without roots. Her mother gave her away, and she grew up in foster homes without forming lasting family relationships. As a scholar, we’re told that she’s wonderful and amazing, but I didn’t see much evidence of it in her in-text citations. Never mind. I honestly didn’t care much about her. Even though she’s narrating half of the story, she never felt like a real person, only a locus for the showdown between Isaac and the Beast.

The story tried to build up to this faceoff between the two men, but it takes forever to get there and then the payoff is incredibly weak. The final third of the book is underdeveloped and rushed, and the overall narrative can be quite jumbled and distracting. By the time the author made a cameo in his own book, I was ready to clock out from this ‘modern fable’. ( )
  makaiju | Aug 11, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An OK book, I found myself just biding my time until I was finished. I'll pass this book along to someone else. I'm sure others may find the book enjoyable, it just wasn't for me. ( )
  kudzuhomecomingqueen | Aug 7, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was an okay book for me. Okay, if not bordering somewhat on the dull side.

I didn't like the narrative structure of one central character's story having "x" amount of pages while the other gets a smaller "y" amount of pages. I'm sure the author probably had the book in that particular format as a means of showing the story in both Ruth and Lenny's points of view, but it just doesn't do the reader any favors.

The story itself seemed promising for the first half of the book, but got a bit sluggish in the second half of the book (especially the very late addition of Borges/The Devil/whoever the hell he was supposed to be in this book...). I didn't mind the humor, but it was one of those blink-and-miss type with the odd throwaway line or two in a wall of text. ( )
  saint_kat | Jun 6, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A lively tale that follows Biblical Isaac in the 21st Century!

How does a man, more than a few thousand years old, deal with that old devil Satan. You'd think with the wisdom of the ages, wouldn't you?

But Isaac, who goes by the name Lenny, finds himself emotionally immature and falling in love. With a woman named Ruth. The pair must make some difficult decisions. Ones that will effect not only them, but others about them.

Will they choose wrong? Or will, somehow, they best that old temptor, Satan who calls himself Borges.

Uh uh uh! I'm not going to tell!!!

You'll want to get this book, hold on tight, and prepare for a wild ride. Full of nuance, wit and passion, I can do no less than give Isaac a modern fable...

...five stars and...

...a big Thumbs Up!

****Disclosure: this book was provided by Early Reviewers in exchange for an independent and non-biased review. ( )
  texicanwife | May 25, 2012 |
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"In this fast-paced mashup of Faust and the biblical story of Isaac, former Los Angeles Times reporter Goldman (The Barfighter) twists the screws on a pair of star-crossed lovers as they struggle to overcome the natural and supernatural forces keeping them apart. When clever, gorgeous professor Ruth Canby meets handsome muscle-for-hire Lenny at the L.A. Farmers Market, their mutual attraction overpowers Ruth's inhibitions. But mysterious Lenny, who is, in fact, Isaac, son of Abraham, physically young after 4,000 years and world-weary but still in love with life{u2014}throws her over to protect his secret. Hurt and disappointed, Ruth accepts a too-good-to-be-true offer to join a Columbia University think tank and tries to forget Lenny, while fending off a colleague's advances. Back in L.A., Lenny avoids his age-old nemesis "The Beast" and attempts to forget Ruth. But he discovers that she's in grave danger, and only a supreme sacrifice might save her. Goldman's snappy dialogue and light touch make this sendup of West Coast superficiality, East Coast academia, and the Old Testament an entertaining read full of weighty, nuanced questions about faith, fate, and what makes life precious, even after four millennia."--P.W.… (more)

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